Indian innovation: businesses’ creative approach to fighting Covid-19

The outside media has moved on from the Covid-19 crisis in India, but the second wave of this deadly pandemic continues to reverberate across this proud nation. While the country is still recovering from the loss, the worst may not be over. With over 31 million cases and more than 400,000 deaths, the spikes in cases continue with growing fears of a third wave by the autumn.

The crisis in India has been a real test of our ability to respond to Covid-19. And yet, this pandemic has reminded us how we can come together, when pressed, to create a scalable response amid tough circumstances.

A big reason why I joined Xynteo was the immense impact we can have on big challenges through our extensive partnerships and our bias for collaboration and action. We are big believers in the power of innovation and cooperation — and in this time of crisis, we are proud of how the partners in our network have mobilised in the fight against this deadly virus.

The quick, targeted actions by our partners and the Xynteo team in India have been humbling and inspiring — particularly given the impact this virus has had on our employees and their loved ones.  I am also moved by the efforts that I have seen from the companies in Vikaasa (formerly India2022), a business coalition founded by Xynteo to create new growth models in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.  Thanks to Cyient and other Vikaasa members, we’re using technology to democratise access to diagnostic healthcare all across India.

For instance, our Vikaasa partners Hindalco, Briota Technologies, and Karma Healthcare, launched a Covid-19 risk categorisation and remote doctor consultation program under Project SAVE that’s been in use since May. Using AI, the program can identify high-risk cases by screening employees and families by age, co-morbidities, and other factors. With the help of Hindalco, the group hopes to scale the screening program for use at corporate and manufacturing sites.

As the number of Covid-19 cases increased across India, reaching the most remote corners of the country became critical. As the virus overwhelmed the existing healthcare infrastructure, the need for solutions outside of the overburdened hospitals was great.

Vikaasa collaborated with Titilee, a rural telehealth helpline, to improve coordination among NGOs across 11 states. Through this initiative, Titilee was able to assemble a team of frontline volunteers and doctors to provide Covid information across rural India.

Another example of creative thinking is the Million ICU project anchored by Turtle Shell Technologies. Turtle Shell created an innovative device, called Dozee, that turns any bed into an ICU and oxygen monitoring bed. At a time when hospitals are overflowing, this device enables a single nurse to monitor from a dashboard the heart and respiration rates, blood pressure oxygen saturation, and other critical data for up to 200 patients. With our Vikaasa partners, we have facilitated fundraising and introductions with senior officials in Andhra Pradesh, South India.

The collaborations don’t stop there. Two of our Vikaasa partners — the Mann Deshi Foundation and the Tata Group — have together secured oxygen concentrators for rural hospitals in the Satara district of Maharashtra. And we have seen incredible collaboration and action from other Vikaasa partners including Hindustan Unilever, Technip Energies, Hindalco, Shell, Tata Trusts and WPP to provide medical care and awareness campaigns.      

While I am proud of how our partners in India mobilised so quickly, the fight against this pandemic is not over. It is particularly important to get more vaccines into the hands, and then the arms, of the people in India. Through the use of creative partnerships and technology, businesses and governments can join forces to get Covid under control in India.

To learn more about what our partners are doing, or to join our efforts, please connect with us here.